More of the Same – Wild Card (2015)

Another clone of the same movie that Jason Statham releases every year.  So this is a story that focuses on bodyguard/security consultant Nick Wild (Statham).  He’s a bit of a loser, living life day to day, doing his job, but mostly just wasting his money on booze and gambling.  When he decides to help an old friend get her revenge on a dangerous man, he soon finds himself in hot water with the mob.  I was still riding high on seeing Furious 7 when I sat down to watch this; I’ve liked Statham in past movies, and while he was certainly playing a cartoon in Furious 7, I appreciated that it was at least a different kind of character.  He always plays the tough guy, which is no surprise, but he almost always plays the likable rogue, never the villain.  It was a nice change of pace to see him try something a little bit different.  With Wild Card, he’s back to basics, and if you’re familiar with Statham’s other works, Wild Card is very similar to Parker, Safe, Killer Elite, Blitz, The Mechanic, The Transporter, and a number of other films he’s made throughout his 17 year career.

statham2I mean if that’s all you look for in a film, by all means, this is for you.

This movie kind of popped up out of nowhere, which is a bit surprising; Statham movies don’t typically make a ton of money, but at the very least you see advertisements for them.  This was more or less direct-to-video, which is odd, because there are names featured here.  If you look at the cast list, you will see that this has names like Jason Alexander, Stanley Tucci, Sofia Vergara and Anne Heche, although all in very minuscule roles.  These aren’t exactly small fish, so why would this film get swept underneath the proverbial rug?  When you sit down to watch it, you can see why this was the case.  This is a film that is not really marketable or commercially viable.  This is an attempt at a modern noir, and it’s not a terribly pleasant or enjoyable story.  Sure, the fight scenes are oily slick and what most people want to see (or at least what the people who watch Statham movies want to see), but it’s such a dark story that it’s difficult to connect with.

stathamAnother Simon West masterpiece.

Wild Card is a watchable film, it’s just that there’s nothing special about it.  You have Statham playing the same role that he always plays and he is doing so on cruise control, but it’s never different enough to stand on its own.  It’s not written with any sparkle, and is kind of hard to like it at a number of different points.  The gambling scenes are pretty fun, but much like The Gambler, you get to know the guy, so you know that it can’t be long before he bottoms out again.  If Jason Statham movies are your thing, you will likely enjoy this just as much as the others.  I get a moderate amount of enjoyment from his library, so I give this a moderate rating, although I doubt I’m going to retain this for much longer than a month.

Wild Card (2015) ***

– Critic for Hire

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